Photo by Andrew Downing
One of the many aspects that makes uptown Athens so eclectic is it’s local delicacies. While taking a gander up Court Street, it is inevitable that you will be greeted by a handful of mouth-watering selections ranging from freshly brewed coffee and stacked sandwiches to sweet treats and global cuisine. The options are truly endless. Instead of taking a hard right into Wendy’s, however, suffice your hunger pains with one of Athens’ delectable local eateries such as Bagel Street Deli, Casa Nueva, Donkey, Fluff Bakery and Salaam.
Bagel Street Deli
This little hole-in-the-wall restaurant is easily one of Athens’ most hoppin’ eateries. With nearly 75 different sandwich combinations to choose from, you are bound to find the perfect bagel to satisfy your cravings. And these are not just your average turkey & cheese, BLT sammies either. Bagel Street Deli is home to an array of creative and funky sandwiches such as the Kimmie Gibbler, a vegetarian option that consists of cream cheese, avocado, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and sprouts. Whether you are in the mood for breakfast for dinner, tofu or ravenous for some meat, your palate will not be disappointed. Stick around and indulge in your plump sandwich where you can admire all of the aluminum foil and chalk-drawn figurines that are displayed across the brick walls.
Tucked away on the corner of West State Street, Casa Nueva has been whipping up Mexican-inspired dishes to members of the Athens community since 1985. Do not pop in expecting to order a greasy burrito with refried beans because Casa instituted sustainable practices long ago by purchasing fresh food items from local farmers. Come in for breakfast and try out its popular Huevos Rancheros Tex-Mex-style dish, or at lunch/dinner try the seasonal quesadilla with a side of tangy BBQ salsa. Regardless of the hour, you will instantly immerse yourself into a laid-back environment with healthful meals, accompanied by a friendly staff and, occasionally, local musicians. The servers do not accept tips, so if you leave one the proceeds go straight toward a local charity.
A visit to Donkey is unlike any other. Dim lighting, the soft hush of alternative music playing in the background, a distinct aroma of roasted coffee and the sweet sound of poetry readings make this coffee shop one of the coziest, zen-filled joints on campus. Release all feelings of anxiety and stress from the day with a sip of a warm lavender mocha or chai-vanilla and spiced tea. Or start your morning off with awakening, stimulating vibes from a smooth cup of Donkey’s house coffee which is both organic and fairly traded. So stop in and treat yourself with a cleansing drink, study if you wish and become one with the peaceful atmosphere.
Decadent pastries, vegan eats and tasty drinks are just the start of what Fluff Bakery has to offer. Cool off with a nice tall glass of iced coffee with a pump of hazelnut and a splash of milk or get a boost and receive a detox from the incredibly refreshing, zesty herbal sage green tea. If that sweet tooth is activating and you cannot resist the dozens of sweet treats that are displayed before you, reach for the Booty Shaker, a rich fudge-based brownie with vanilla icing and sprinkles. If you came in for a wholesome meal, however, you are in luck because Fluff makes a mean pesto. For breakfast try the Fluffhead, a roasted and fresh veggie sandwich with pesto. For lunch, get your antioxidant fix with the healthy Cranberry Almond Pesto Salad with falafel. Whether you want to be naughty or nice, this eatery has got it all.
Its tagline, “Fine global cuisine in Athens, Ohio,” is truly an understatement. Dishes are inspired by a variety of countries such as the Middle East, the Mediterranean, the Balkans, North Africa, Thailand, India and Pakistan. Salaam enables college students to experience international classics without the cost of a plane ticket. Sink your teeth into a succulent greek-inspired gyro or receive an Indian flare from the creamy coconut curry entree. Whatever you chose, no meal is complete without the lovely baskets of warm pita, served with a rich olive oil and balsamic vinegar. With a plethora of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes and a menu that is focused on incorporating fresh local foods, Salaam will take your tastebuds on a cultural journey that you do not want to miss.